Focus on business basics as market shifts

by Melvin A. Vieira, Jr.

It’s been a long-time coming, but our years-long seller’s market is finally cooling.  Following a steady rise in mortgage rates this spring, buyer demand has eased over the past several months, and home prices are now softening. In addition, the waiver of contingencies is no longer a prerequisite for an offer to be accepted, and inventory levels are starting to build, especially in the single-family home market where overpriced properties are sitting longer.  

The slowdown should bring some more balance and normalcy to our market, which had become extremely overheated between the fall of 2020 and the end of last year. That will be good for the long-term health of the local housing market, but it also brings challenges.

Most notably, this will be the first time many newer agents experience a shift in market dynamics. In order to navigate successfully through a changing market most veteran Realtors® will tell you the best course of action is to stick to solid business fundamentals.  In our industry, it generally means practicing strong communication skills; treating clients and colleagues professionally and ethically; and working hard to boost your name and brand by investing in education, training and technology to differentiate yourself from the competition.  

When the market is in transition, frequent and timely communication is essential to keep clients and customers informed about changes in local housing market conditions and economic factors that may impact mortgage rates, overall buyer demand, home prices, their motivation to buy or sell and more. It’s also critical that you understand preferred methods of communication for each consumer you are working with, and that you have the tools, applications and platforms necessary to be share information with them and to be accessible and responsive when they reach out.  

Today, this means having an effective CRM system, a regular presence on social media and being able to provide current market data to your buyers and sellers to illustrate fluctuations in the market. An excellent resource for this purpose is the Housing Data Dashboard powered by Domus Analytics that is available to all members via our association’s website at gbar.org. It allows you to generate searches and reports of active listings and sold property in the detached, single-family home, condominium and multi-family housing markets across 90 communities in eastern Massachusetts.

In real estate, your reputation means everything and often precedes us since most home buyers today go online first to search for properties before turning to an agent. So for you and me, practicing the Golden Rule and exercising professional courtesies when transacting a property are critical to earning credibility and respect from your peers. For Realtors® it goes one step further, as understanding and adhering to the standards of practice set forth in the association’s Code of Ethics are requirements of membership that set us apart from non-member licensees. 

As the home sales volume begins to slow, it is even more incumbent upon all of us to work together in a cooperative manner.  It is not only in our best interests, but that of our clients and customers. This includes responding to other agents’ calls, emails and other inquiries promptly; entering property only with permission and never allowing buyers to enter a property unaccompanied; being aware of and respecting cultural differences; never criticizing property in the presence of an occupant, and avoiding telling people what you think, but rather telling them what you know. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has compiled a comprehensive list of professional etiquette that can be found in its Pathways to Professionalism Guide located at nar.realtor.  

Finally, with market activity expected to be less busy over the coming months, there’s going to be more time for each of us to increase our industry knowledge and learn new skills to further our business and careers. Taking advantage of the opportunity to attend education and training programs offered by the Realtor® organization, multicultural real estate groups and industry affiliate partners is a terrific way to enhance your professional development and referral network.  

GBAR has an extensive calendar of seminars, CE courses and designation and certification programs scheduled throughout year.  In the coming months this includes both our Rentals the Right Way class and the At Home With Diversity certification course and annual Economic Expectations seminar, featuring the chief economists from NAR and realtor.com.  Find out more about these classes and watch a recording of our recent Thrive No Matter What session by accessing the Education & Events section on gbar.org.

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